Eating a “baked frozen cake”, receiving a little construction paper heart, accepting a friendship bracelet, running around the playground for “Duck, Duck, Goose,” dancing to kids’ songs, picking up beads that spilled all over the floor… a day at PreK Counts is full of little moments. Some are good, some not so good, but every moment is a chance for me to learn, to love and to be loved.
One of my favorite experiences I’ve had in this classroom took place during morning circle time. The teacher asked me to find and bring to class a book about balls for a read-aloud. On the set day I talked to the children about balls and then opened the book.
Before the lesson no one was sure how the students would respond to a new teacher, but they interacted with the lesson and listened very respectfully to the story. Afterward we all headed to the gym for the children to let go of some energy. I also hoped that the class would be able to extend their learning about balls by playing with some balls during gym time.
Where are all the balls? The question entered my mind as I stood in the gym a few minutes after the preschoolers were let free to run and play. The children ran around, some chasing each other, some running just for the joy of running. But there wasn’t much else for them to do. Then another preschool class entered the gym and brought with them a big bag of balls. However, there weren’t near enough balls for every child. Some of the balls were way too big for the children to handle anyway. With so few manipulatives and toys with which to engage, I worried that the children might get bored. Another question came to mind- Could the preschoolers benefit cognitively, socially and physically if there was more equipment for them to use?
I decided to do some research. I was super impressed to find an article on a study concerning just what I was asking myself about- preschoolers and object play. According to the article, object play can support and aid in developing scientific reasoning skills and understanding of the physical world. Balls, for example teach children principles of movement (bouncing, rolling, etc.). But balls aren’t the only useful manipulatives. Blocks, sand, water, cardboard boxes and many other objects offer children a wealth of opportunities to learn and grow.
Now that I know that object play is important for healthy child development, I want to I want to make sure that the balls come out of the closet at the gym and into the children’s hands. Children have so much potential and their minds and hearts are so impressionable. As an educator, I want to give children the support they need to reach their fullest potential!
You can access the article I found on Object Play and Preschool Learning at http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=10&sid=d73a0556-5390-41be-860cd091de192435%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=eue&AN=120555282